Posts Tagged ‘safety’

Big Pharma: Even Worse Than Used Cars as a Market for Lemons?

Big Pharma: Even Worse Than Used Cars as a Market for Lemons?

Courtesy of Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism 

Fruit at market

Some readers have wondered why this blog from time to time runs posts on the US health care system. Aside from the fact that it’s a major public policy problem in America, it is also a prime example of bad incentives, information asymmetry, and corporate predatory behavior. It thus makes for an important object lesson.

Reader Francois T pointed to an example, a commentary on a paper presented by Donald Light at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, “Pharmaceuticals: A Two-Tiered Market for Producing ‘Lemons’ and Serious Harm.” It still appears to be embargoed, but Howard Brody provides an extensive summary on his blog.

Light uses George Akerlof “market for lemons” as a point of departure. For those not familiar with the famed Akerlof paper, a “market for lemons” can occur when consumers are unable to distinguish product quality. The used car market is the paradigm, since the dealer has a much better idea than the buyer of whether a particular car is any good. Unscrupulous operators can stick a lot of hapless chump customers with overpriced clunkers. However, as crooked vendors become more common, buyers wise up a tad and are not longer to pay as much for cars they cannot evaluate. So while the prices buyers are now willing to pay are probably still too high for rattletraps, they are too low for decent cars. People with good merchandise start to look for other channels. Akerlof posits that the market eventually falls apart.

Note that used cars dealers did not set out to create lemons; the cars were bad deals by being overpriced (presumably, if they had been presented, warts and all, they still would have found purchasers, presumably people who thought they could repair them and those who wanted them for parts and scrap). Light contends, by contrast, that major pharmaceutical companies create bad products:

[T]he pharmaceutical market for ‘lemons,’ differs from other markets for lemons in that companies develop and produce the lemons. Evidence in this paper indicates that the production of lemon-drugs with hidden dangers is widespread and results from the systematic exploitation of monopoly rights and the production of partial, biased information about the efficacy and safety of new drugs…Companies will design and run their clinical


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Another Safety Issue: Can Toyota Ever Bounce Back?

Another Safety Issue: Can Toyota Ever Bounce Back?

By Joseph R. Szczesny, courtesy of TIME 

A Toyota dealership advertises a 0% interest rate on the windshield of an unsold 2010 Toyota Matrix in Lakewood, Colo.

David Zalubowski / AP

The flood of recalls — nearly 9 million vehicles in the past 12 months — and reams of nasty publicity involving runaway cars and unintended acceleration seemed finally to have abated for the beleaguered automaker Toyota. Then, on Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was intensifying its investigation into another potential Toyota safety issue: sudden-stalling problems on its Corolla and Matrix models.

This new NHTSA move, a formal engineering investigation of the Matrixes and Corollas from model years 2005 to ’07, stems from more than 1,000 complaints that have been received by Toyota and the NHTSA. It could possibly lead to another major round of recalls if mechanical or electrical problems are found. (See the 50 worst cars of all time.)

The investigation is just the latest in a barrage of challenges — and heavy damage — to the once gilt-edged reputation of the world’s top automaker. While solidly profitable during the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, the company still has a way to go before it can repair that reputation. "They are still a successful company, they just aren’t on a pedestal anymore," says Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Global Insight.

"This controversy has damaged our reputation," acknowledges Toyota spokesman John Hanson, referring to the sudden-acceleration issue. But it’s about more than just reputation: Toyota faces liability claims over incidents that have been blamed for 79 deaths and hundreds of crashes.

Earlier in August, Toyota executives were heartened to receive a report from the NHTSA that the agency hadn’t found any evidence that faulty electronics played a role in sudden-acceleration accidents, and instead suggested driver error…
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Corporate Rotten Eggs

Robert Reich suggests creating a "national database of corporate crimes and settlements" to help regulators keep track of corporations that have a history of disregarding safety concerns.  As long as the fines for individual violations is less than the profits realized in the course of business, there is no incentive for these corporations to clean up their act.  To do that, the penalties need to be exceed the rewards and inflict some real pain on the corporation, owners, managers and shareholders. This is particularly important with serial offenders because the culture of the company does not change as a result of minor fines, just as the sociopathic nature of hard core criminals does not get cured by a three month stay in prision. – Ilene 

Corporate Rotten Eggs

PICTURED IS A CRACKED, UNCOOKED EGG, SHOWING THE YOLK AND THE WHITE, OR ALBUMEN, OF THE HEN'S EGG. CRACKED UNCOOKED EGG SHOWING YOLK AND WHITE

Courtesy of Robert Reich 

There are rotten apples in every industry. Or perhaps I should say rotten eggs.

One especially rotten egg is Jack DeCoster, whose commercial egg agribusiness, which goes under the homey title “Wright County Egg,” headquartered in Galt, Iowa, sends eggs all over the country under many different brands. Those eggs have now laid low thousands of Americans with salmonella poisoning, and may well infect thousands more.

DeCoster is recalling 380 million eggs sold since mid-May. Another commercial egg company, also headquartered in Iowa, and in which DeCoster is a major investor, is recalling hundreds millions more.

It’s not clear how rotten eggs are recalled. They’re not like Toyotas. They’re already in our food supply. 

But this is only the beginning of the story.  

Thirteen years ago when I was Secretary of Labor, DeCoster agreed to pay a $2 million penalty (the most we could throw at him) for some of the most heinous workplace violations I’d seen. His workers had been forced to live in trailers infested with rats and handle manure and dead chickens with their bare hands. It was an agricultural sweatshop.

Several people in Maine told me the fine wouldn’t stop DeCoster. He’d just consider it a cost of doing business. Evidently they were right. DeCoster’s commercial egg business has a record that would make a repeat offender blush.

In 2003, DeCoster pleaded guilty to knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants (who don’t complain about unsafe working conditions, below-minimum-wage pay, and unsanitary facilities). DeCoster paid a record $2.1 million penalty for that one.

In the 1990s he was charged by…
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BP Pressured Worker, 30-Year Old Playbook Response

BP Pressured Rig Worker to Hurry Before Disaster, Father Says

Oiled Guillimot after Empress oil spill,West Wales

By Joe Carroll and Laurel Brubaker Calkins, Bloomberg

May 28 (Bloomberg) — The highest-ranking crew member to perish aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig warned his family that BP Plc was pressuring him to sacrifice safety for the sake of time and money, his father said.

Jason Anderson, one of 11 rig workers presumed dead after an April 20 explosion and fire sank the Deepwater Horizon and triggered the worst oil spill in U.S. history, told relatives in February and March that BP was urging him to accelerate work on the Macondo well off the Louisiana coast, said his father, Billy Anderson.

On previous wells drilled with the same rig, Jason Anderson, a 35-year-old employee of vessel owner Transocean Ltd., had been able to convince BP representatives to eschew shortcuts that he believed would compromise safety, his father said. But in the eight weeks preceding the disaster, BP stepped up the pressure and overruled safety objections, Billy Anderson, 66, said.

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BP Using 30 Year-Old Playbook in Responding to Oil Spill? 

Washington’s Blog

Preface for my conservative readers: Yes, I know … Maddow is very liberal. But her claims are either true or they are not true. Let’s focus on her claims. If anyone can refute them, let me know, and I’ll post a retraction.

Rachel Maddow claims that a top kill type maneuver – pumping in cement and saltwater – was tried during the giant 1979 Ixtoc oil spill, but didn’t work.

Maddow also says:

  • The precursor to the same company operating the Deepwater Horizon drilling well – Transocean – operated the Ixtoc rig
  • The cause of both oil spills was the same: a malfunctioning blowout preventer
  • The location of the spill was the same: the Gulf
  • The sizes of both spills were massive
  • A "top hat" operation was attempted unsuccessfully. During the Ixtoc spill, it was named


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Phil's Favorites

Is Facebook today's Compuserve? How Libra could hasten its demise

 

Is Facebook today's Compuserve? How Libra could hasten its demise

Will Libra be Facebook’s downfall? (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Marc-David L. Seidel, University of British Columbia

When Mark Zuckerberg was five years old in 1989, two dominant players in telecommunications made a big announcement.

Compuserve (the first major commercial online service provider) and MCI Mail (one of the first commercial e-mail service providers) introduced commercial e-mail relays to the public internet. These relays connected their centralized networks to the public, outside of their direct con...



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Zero Hedge

Yuan, Stocks Erase Mnuchin Ramp

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The overnight ramp in yuan and US equity futures - on the back of Mnuchin's comments - has been entirely erased as the algos were taught that tenses matter...

...a deal that WAS 90% done is different from a deal that IS 90% done... ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Metals Bulls Praying This Indicator Does Not Peak Here!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Gold has been strong of late as the US Dollar has been weak. This combo has driven the Gold/Dollar ratio to a key price zone and momentum level, that looks to be important to metals bulls.

This chart looks at the Gold/Dollar ratio over the past 6-years. The long-term trend is down, while the trend over the past 3-years is pretty much flat (sideways trading range).

The rally of late has the ratio testing the 2018 highs as well as its 38% Fibonacci retracement l...



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Insider Scoop

Analysts Say Homebuilder Environment Still Looks Good For Lennar

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Lennar Corporation (NYSE: LEN) stock remains attractive in the long term, sell-side analysts said Wednesday after investors sent the share price on a post-earnings roller-coaster ride.

The homebuilder had a strong ...



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ValueWalk

Beyond Meat vs Impossible Burger: Comparing The Vegan Meat Burgers

 

Beyond Meat vs Impossible Burger: Comparing The Vegan Meat Burgers

Courtesy of Vikas Shukla, ValueWalk

Pexels / Pixabay

The trend of vegan food has been gathering momentum in the last few years as people become more health conscious. They have also begun to realize the environmental impact of raising meat for human consumption. According to PETA, it takes an estimated 1...



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Chart School

Formula for when the Great Stock Market Rally ends

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

When valuations for the boring water company or the boring electric company is trading like your Facebook, Apple, Amazon or Netflix or Google (ie FANG) you know something is wrong.

This is when a seriously over valued market is screaming at you.

Of course the reader must understand in a world where money printing goes super nuts (Zimbabwe style) the stock market may go hyper inflationary and picking a time frame for a top is never a good idea, but we are not there yet. There is no Ben Bernanke helicopter money to the masses yet (ie MMT). 

To see when water company's (and such like) are nearing the crazy FANG like valuations a review of the Dow Jones Utility Index channel shows us how history can repeat. The c...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control

 

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...



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Biotech

Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

If you’ve got the raw data, why not mine it for more info? Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Sarah Catherine Nelson, University of Washington

Back in 2016, Helen (a pseudonym) took three different direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests: AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA. She saw genetic testing as a way...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

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Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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